Fabulous Fiction Firsts #358

UM grad (MFA) Scott Hutchins, a Truman Capote Fellow in the Wallace Stegner Program, a current faculty in Creative Writing at Stanford, will be in Ann Arbor at Nicola's on Tuesday, October 16, at 7 pm to read and sign his debut novel A Working Theory of Love.

Smarting from a recent divorce, Neill Bassett Jr. accepts a job with Amiante Systems, an artificial intelligence start-up in the Bay Area, and tries to put his life back together. With a degree in business marketing and absolutely no experience in computer science, he nevertheless is the perfect man for the job since it is his father's diaries, with spectacularly quotidian details, that will eventually become the world's first sentient computer. For 2 years, Neill has been giving it language using his father's words, and the computer actually appears to be gaining awareness and, most disconcerting of all, has started asking questions.

While his feelings for his ex. is unresolved, he meets Rachel, a one-night-stand who continues to surprise and upset his self-imposed isolation. When Neill discovers a missing year in the diaries, he senses that it could hold the secrets to his father's suicide 10 year ago, but everything Neill thought he knew about his past comes into question.

"With a lightness of touch that belies pitch-perfect emotional control, Scott Hutchins takes us on an odyssey of love, grief, and reconciliation that shows us how, once we let go of the idea that we're trapped by our own sad histories, our childhoods, our bad decisions, our miscommunications with those we loved, we have the chance to truly be free".

"First-time novelist Hutchins manages to address weighty questions (e.g., what makes us human?) without ever losing his sly sense of humor in this witty, insightful Silicon Valley comedy of manners."

"Clever and extensive navel-gazing is modulated by tenderness, humor and charm".